Friday, February 28, 2020

Closer looks at the coronavirus outbreak from Meyers, Noah, and Colbert

I'm going to admit that when I wrote "I'll try to post something more serious about the outbreak the next time I write about it here" at the end of Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert look at official responses to the coronavirus outbreak, I failed.  That's because the next good video I saw about the outbreak and its response was Trump’s Flailing Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak: A Closer Look from Late Night with Seth Meyers.  I couldn't resist.

Seth takes a closer look at President Trump appointing Mike Pence to take charge of the response to the coronavirus outbreak and reassuring absolutely nobody.
I always appreciate  Meyers and his writers taking in-depth looks at an issue, even if it is ostensibly for entertainment.  He does manage to get the information across, too.

The panic on Wall Street shows up in the next video, Is This How We Die? - Coronavirus, Continued by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, which also looks at the state of the outbreak around the world.

As coronavirus continues to spread, the stock market tanks, the public panics and runs out of protective masks, and the CDC recommends shaving facial hair to wear a face mask.
This is where I appreciate Noah for being from outside of North America and Europe.  He's likely to take a global look at an issue.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert placed the panic in the financial markets front and center in Wall Street Panics After Trump Unveils Lackluster Coronavirus Response Plan.

While President Trump prefers to blame Democrats for the stock market's nose dive, the country he leads is concerned about his administration's disorganized response to the Coronavirus crisis.
First, Trump is making cause and effect go backwards.  Second, I should not be surprised that Trump is blaming the wrong NBC Universal cable channel for coronavirus coverage. When I look at my YouTube subscription page, I see video after video about coronavirus from CNBC. In contrast, MSNBC and CNN hardly had any videos on the subject at all until after the stock market crashed. Then again, CNBC is Larry Kudlow's old channel and Trump never let the facts get in the way of a good attack.

Speaking of CNBC, the latest video on the CNBC Television YouTube channel is showing the Dow down more than 900 points so far today to below 25,000, more than 4,000 points this past week with no end in sight.  This stock market crash is the one reason I am not revising the recession call I made in CNBC explains how the yield curve predicted every recession for the past 50 years.  Without the coronavirus outbreak, I might have to.  With it, I still think it's likely.

I close with A Coronavirus PSA From Vice President Mike Pence.

From the Office of the Vice President comes this important message about keeping yourself safe from the Coronavirus.
Gallows humor at its finest.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert look at official responses to the coronavirus outbreak

When I wrote "On another note, I've been ignoring the coronavirus outbreak on this blog, so I'm glad Dingell mentioned it.  I'll have to make up for that omission later this week" as an aside in Politics, pastries, and Polish culture from Michigan for Paczki Day, I was expecting to post a serious science video.  Then President Trump and Vice President Pence held a press conference about the response to the outbreak yesterday, which meant that the late night comedians were all over it.  As a result, I begin my coverage of the potential pandemic using two clips from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.   The first one asks Coronavirus: Is This How We Die?

Trump appoints Pence the coronavirus czar as the virus spreads from China to Japan, Iran, the Philippines, and Italy.
Comedy aside, that's a good summary of the state of the outbreak so far.  As for the answer to the question, probably not, which means, as much as I hate to type it, Trump is right.  Just the same, that's not reassuring.

In addition, The Daily Show created a parody of the short informational videos I post here from time to time, Trump Has the Coronavirus Under Control.

Don't worry everyone, Trump has the "Caronavirus" under control.
"Caronavirus" — LOL, that's right up there with cofeve and Global Waming.

Stephen Colbert opened his show last night with one of his cold open skits, Coronavirus Fears Are Reshaping Global Facial Hair Trends.

The president of the American Association of Evil Villains is here with an important message about facial hair in the age of the Coronavirus.
That is a real chart.  Since I have a beard, that means I have facial hair that is incompatible with a mask.  The beard still stays.

I'll try to post something more serious about the outbreak the next time I write about it here.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Colbert and Noah react live to the South Carolina Democratic debate

I did not post a recap about the Democratic debate before the Nevada caucuses because both Stephen Colbert and SNL were off last week.  Darn.  That debate could have used being laughed at.

Both Colbert and SNL are back this week and so are my posts featuring comedy takes on the debates.  I begin with Stephen Colbert's LIVE Post-Debate Monologue: Fury Road To The White House 2020.

Following the raucous Democratic presidential debate in his home town of Charleston, South Carolina, Stephen Colbert took the stage to discuss the night's winners, losers and most surreal moments.
While Colbert only alluded to the Nevada debate and especially Mike Bloomberg's poor showing in it, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah took it head on in February 2020 Democratic Debate in South Carolina.

Trevor went LIVE after the 10th Democratic Debate in South Carolina.
And I thought last week's debate was wild!  At least it was well-moderated.  This one could have used a stronger hand from the moderators.

I'm pretty sure that SNL will have a sketch about the debate on Saturday.  If so, expect me to post it on Sunday, the first of March.  Also, I might share Samantha Bee's reaction tomorrow after her show tonight.  She always has the most original insights on current events.  Either way, stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Politics, pastries, and Polish culture from Michigan for Paczki Day


Happy Paczki Day AKA Fat Tuesday!  For this year's celebration, I begin with something serious from WDIV in Detroit, Rep. Debbie Dingell talks Paczki Day and politics.

It's a tradition her late husband started decades ago, and she's keeping it going.
I think it's smart for Representative Dingell to bring paczki to "her friends in the media."  It certainly makes her look good in the eyes of both the media and the public and gets them to talk to her on good terms.  Speaking of being on good terms or lack thereof, I'm no fan of Mike Bloomberg, but I'm also no fan of vandalizing his campaign offices, either.  It's no secret that I don't like Trump at all, but I still disapprove of Trump's star on Hollywood Walk of Fame being demolished.  As I wrote then, "Don't trash symbols of the opposition--vote!"

On another note, I've been ignoring the coronavirus outbreak on this blog, so I'm glad Dingell mentioned it.  I'll have to make up for that omission later this week.

Enough seriousness on this fun holiday.  Follow over the jump for videos about paczki from Michigan.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Democratic candidates from left to center for the 2020 primaries


I concluded Bye-bye Booker as Cory climbs down from his campaign by noting that I've been delaying on making good on a promise I had made late last year.
I had one final comment on Booker's ideological scores at On The Issues at the end of Kamala Harris heading home came as a complete surprise.
While I'm retiring this chart because Harris has dropped out, I would have had to been retired even if she were still running.  First, Harris left the campaign with a more moderate social score of 73, which, combined with her economic score of 10 places her closer to Amy Klobuchar than Joe Biden.  Harris ended her run as the fourth most liberal member of the field according to On The Issues.  Second, Biden himself has become more moderate with an economic score of 15 and a social score of 80.  The two no longer share the same point on the Nolan Grid.  Time to make a new graph for Biden, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang, who now share a spot.
That prompted me to ask "Now, do I hurry to make new memes for all the remaining candidates for tomorrow's entry, or wait until Booker drops out?  Decisions, decisions" at the end of Julian jumps from the plane as Castro campaign crashes.  By not making the memes before Booker dropped out, I made my decision through inaction.  I guess I have no excuse now.
Now that there are only eight major Democratic candidates after Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, and Deval Patrick all dropped out, I think it's time to fulfill that promise, as I told my readers yesterday in John Lewis earns Chairman's Award plus movie and TV winners about politics and government at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards.

I begin by being a good environmentalist and recycling to explain my methodology.
[I] rank[ed] the candidates by economic score from low (left) to high (right, or in this case center) to make it comparable to the liberal-moderate (there are no true conservatives running for the Democratic nomination) ranking I used last [month and again earlier this month] which was based on the economic dimension [of Voteview's DW-Nominate scores].  I then used the social score to break ties in the economic score with high scores being considered more liberal and low scores being considered more conservative.
For the four remaining candidates who are sitting members of Congress, I'm also recycling my methodology for their Voteview scores.
Voteview allows users to view every congressional roll call vote in American history on a map of the United States and on a liberal-conservative ideological map including information about the ideological positions of voting Senators and Representatives.
...
Ideological positions are calculated using the DW-NOMINATE (Dynamic Weighted NOMINAl Three-step Estimation). This procedure was developed by Poole and Rosenthal in the 1980s and is a "scaling procedure", representing legislators on a spatial map. In this sense, a spatial map is much like a road map--the closeness of two legislators on the map shows how similar their voting records are. Using this measure of distance, DW-NOMINATE is able to recover the "dimensions" that inform congressional voting behavior.

The primary dimension through most of American history has been "liberal" vs. "conservative" (also referred to as "left" vs. "right"). A second dimension picks up differences within the major political parties over slavery, currency, nativism, civil rights, and lifestyle issues during periods of American history.
...the scores of liberals are all negative and the more liberal they are, the more negative the scores, so the most liberal candidate will have the lowest or most negative score.
I last updated both the the Vote Match scores from On The Issues and first dimension DW-NOMINATE scores from Voteview in August, so it's been half a year.  Follow over the jump to see how the remaining candidates rate from left to center.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

John Lewis earns Chairman's Award plus movie and TV winners about politics and government at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards

For this week's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling by writing about the NAACP Image Awards.  Last year, the big winner was "Black Panther."  This year, I open with a real-life political leader earning an award.  Watch The Incomparable Rep. John Lewis Is Honored With The Chairman's Award | NAACP Image Awards from BET Networks.

For his work during the Civil Rights movement and for all he does for the country, Congressman John Lewis receives the 2020 Chairman’s Award.
Congratulations, Representative Lewis!

Follow over the jump for the awards presented to movies and TV shows about politics and government.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Marching music for the Nevada caucuses


I concluded Vox explains America's presidential primaries by telling my readers "I plan on doing for Nevada what I've already done for Iowa and New Hampshire, share some marching music for my readers to enjoy while they wait for the caucus results.  Stay tuned."  It's time to me to follow through and my readers to watch and listen.

Since there are no competitive drum corps in Nevada, today's installment features the state's top marching bands, beginning with the one from the state's flagship university, University of Nevada Wolf Pack Marching Band Pregame Show 2014.


I captured the NEVADA spellout from this performance to illustrate this entry.

Moving from north to south, ShowtimeWeb captured UNLV "Star of Nevada" Marching Band 2016's halftime show when UNLV played Jackson State University.


Even with the sound problems, this is the best video of the UNLV band I could find on YouTube.  The Star of Nevada Band could use better videographers among its fans!

That's it for the university bands from the Silver State.  Follow over the jump for two Nevada high school bands that marched in the Rose Parade during the past decade.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Vox explains America's presidential primaries

I posted FiveThirtyEight's Primary Project explains how the U.S. primary system evolved and asks if there is a better way a little more than two weeks ago to express my frustration with the delayed results of the Iowa Caucuses.  That entry included three videos, which FiveThirtyEight had uploaded over three weeks.  Today, Vox managed to condense the same history into one video, America's presidential primaries, explained.  In addition to a snappier treatment of the topic, Vox also included their frustration as part of video, asking "Why does America's system for picking the president start in Iowa?"

Before Americans vote on the next president in November, both major political parties have to settle on a nominee. That process is called the primary, and in 2020 it consists of 64 different contests, held on 22 different days, over several months. And for some reason, it all starts in the midwestern state of Iowa. So how did America's political parties come up with this system? And is there a better way to do it?
Since FiveThirtyEight did this first, I find it fitting that Vox cited FiveThirtyEight's efforts to determine the most representative state in the Union, which is Illinois.  I'm also glad that Vox did a better job of exploring better ways of doing things, particularly the order of state primaries.  Li Zhou, who is interviewed in the video, explains more in Why Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn’t go first in the primaries anymore.  I recommend my readers read the article in addition to watching the video.

I'll have more on the primary contest tomorrow, when I plan on doing for Nevada what I've already done for Iowa and New Hampshire, share some marching music for my readers to enjoy while they wait for the caucus results.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Company Man examines the rise and decline of Sbarro, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

Hot on the heels of Pier 1 Imports filing for bankruptcy, I have another tale of the Retail Apocalypse to share with my readers.  This one ties into Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, in which I pointed out "everything is connected to everything else, so dead malls no longer bring in foot traffic, which means the restaurants inside them no longer have customers, so they close."  Company Man uploaded a video yesterday about another restaurant chain that has a lot of mall locations, The Decline of Sbarro...What Happened?

Sbarro is a major U.S. pizza chain that you probably know best from their delicious smelling pizza stands inside shopping malls. Well, they haven't been doing well lately, evidenced by their multiple bankruptcy filings over the past decade. This video attempts to explain what happened.
Sbarro's dependence on malls was helpful until the Great Recession but is hurting the chain now, as more than half of their stores have closed since the company's peak.  One of those is the Sbarro I first encountered and which my kids and I ate at regularly during the 1990s in Briarwood Mall on the south edge of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It closed sometime during the past decade, after I last stepped foot in Briarwood Mall.  A Panda Express now occupies its location.  Honestly, I think that's an improvement.  At least if I want to eat at Sbarro, I can still go to the one in Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi or Somerset Collection in Troy.  Given my diabetes, I probably won't.  Other people will have to support Sbarro by eating there.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Drinks and drinking games for the 2020 Democratic Primary debates


I finished Pier 1 Imports files for bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse by telling my readers to "stay tuned for an update to Drinks for candidates at the September and October Democratic debates.  I bet it will be time to add Bloomberg's drink suggestions.  Any takers?"  Well, that happened, as NPR reported yesterday NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll: Sanders Leads, Bloomberg Qualifies For Debate.    Good thing no one took me up on betting against that happening!

With that, it's time for a new drinking game.  I begin with a meme from Delish.


This drinking game, in addition to being simple, has aged better than the others, even DebateDrinking.com, which hasn't been updated since December.  Rolling Stone last updated its game in January.  BTR at least has one for the last debate in New Hampshire, but I don't know how well it will work unless one substitutes New Hampshire for Iowa and Nevada for New Hampshire.  Just the same, happy drinking! 

Follow over the jump for the drink suggestions, which I've recycled.  Of course I did; I'm an environmentalist.